One of the prettiest flowers in a Summer Garden. Learn how to grow Dahlias with these simple gardening tips!
Dahlias are breathtakingly gorgeous growing in a garden, or even cut for in a flower arrangement. Many people don't know that you can grow them in your own garden with very little work. Learn How to Grow Dahilas and keep them coming back year after year with these easy gardening tips.
How to Grow Dahlias
Dahlia Growing Zones
Dahlias can be grown from zones 2 - 11!! That is a huge range. Dahlias are only winter hardy in zones 8-11. This means they can stay in the ground year round. Gardeners in zones 2-7 can simply plant dahlia tubers in the spring. They will grow quickly and the plants will be blooming by mid to late summer. You can dig up the tubers in the fall to replant again in the spring.
Don't know your hardiness zone? You'll find the USDA Hardiness zone map here.
When to Plant Dahlias
Dahlias tubers are planted in the spring after all danger of frost. If you live in a cold climate and want your dahlias to bloom as soon as possible, you can start the tubers indoors about a month before the last frost date. Fill 6" or 8" pots with growing mix and plant one tuber per pot. Put the pots in a warm, sunny place until the plants are several inches tall and the weather outside is warm.
Where to Plant Dahlias
Dahlias are versatile when it comes to where to plant them, but given their beauty you want to give them a prime location. They grow amazing in gardens of any kind. They make great companions for a vegetable garden and flower bed. Dahlias even look amazing along patios and fences for a bit of color and screening. The smaller varieties top out at 18" tall while the larger dinner plate Dahilias can grow to 4ft (think shrub). Those dinner plate dahlia flowers can reach 15 inches in diameter. That is why the plants get so large.
Make sure wherever you choose to plant them that you give them a rich, well-draining soil to prevent any root rot, or wilting issues. Whenever you are starting a new garden or garden area it is great to ask yourself these 7 Questions Before you Get started (see them now!)
Water & Fertilizer for Dahlias
All dahlias are hungry plants that respond well to fertilizer. This is especially true with dinnerplate dahlias. Start feeding them at planting time by enriching the soil with compost and adding an all-purpose fertilizer (follow package directions). When the plants are a foot tall, begin feeding them twice a month with a liquid all-purpose fertilizer, following the recommended dilution rates.
Dinnerplate dahlias should get about an inch of water per week. Infrequent deep watering is best. Try to target the root zone. Keeping the foliage as dry as possible will help deter slugs, snails and earwigs, as well as foliar diseases.
Looking to keep pests away naturally? Try this Organic Garden Insect Spray (find out more here)
How to Support Dahlias
Big flowers need support to keep them off the ground. If you are growing full size dahlias, they should be staked to support both the stems and the flowers. Use at least one sturdy, 6-foot-tall stake per plant. Drive the stake into the ground 8 to 10" deep. Inserting the stakes at planting time means you won't damage the plant or tubers later in the season. As the stems begin to grow, tie them to the stake every foot or two.
Pruning for More Blooms
As your young Dahlia plant is growing you can pinch it to encourage more blooms. The best time to pinch is when the plant is about 10" tall and has at least 4 sets of leaves on the center stalk. At this stage it is growing rapidly and will quickly recover from being pinched. Where the sprout was removed, the plant will generate two shoots rather than one.
As your Dahlias grow, the more flowers you pick, the more you will get. Visit your dahlias at least a couple times a week (shouldn't be hard because they are beautiful!), and bring the following three things with you every time: sharp scissors, a clean bucket with some water in the bottom for keepers, and a larger bucket for collecting spent blooms.
Cut your dahlias as soon as they open and before the back petals begin to soften. Try to cut nice, long stems, even when it means removing buds. Over time, this encourages the plant to produce longer stems.
End of Season Care
At the begining of winter or end of fall when all the blooms have died, it is time to dig up your tubers if you intend to replant them next year.
You will want to Dig tubers, trim any stems left off the top, air dry under cover and store cool, dry and dark in newspaper-lined cardboard boxes or clay pots.
Cover tubers with lightly moistened sand or peat. Tubers may be divided before storing if desired. If you have more than one variety, label each tuber.
Dahilas are a breathtakingly beautiful addition to any garden. They make georgous cut flowers for in a vase, or just to enjoy blooming in your yard! Dahlias are surprisingly easy to grow and enjoy for years to come! Once you know how to grow dahlias you will want a yard full of these beauties.